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Monday, February 27, 2006 

Robert's American Gourmet Soy Crisps

Love potato chips but fear all of the fat and calories? Robert's American Gourmet Soy Crisps may just save the day! These round chips are light, crispy, and packed with flavor, and they come in a portion-controlled 1 oz bag for healthful snacking. Not only are these chips delicious, but they contain a mere 110 calories per serving with only 2 grams of fat. In addition, Soy Crisps have 2 grams of fiber and 7 grams of soy protein! They're a bit high in sodium (330 mg/serving), but contain only 1 gram of sugar (15 grams total carbohydrates). The crisps come in familiar potato chip flavors such as Creamy Ranch, Barbecue, and Cheddar so you can satisfy your craving for chips without blowing your diet or resolve to eat healthier.

Manufacturer says: Soy Crisps are a delicious low fat crispy soy snack the whole family will love. They are so tasty you won't believe they're so healthy. Soy Crisps are made with a unique blend of soy, creating a light crispy snack.

Try them now: Robert's American Gourmet Soy Crisps

Thursday, February 23, 2006 

Health is Wealth All Natural Chicken Nuggets

If your kids are like most children, chicken nuggets top their list of food favorites. Unfortunately, however, most chicken nuggets on the market are loaded with trans fats, artificial ingredients, corn syrup, and a whole host of other unhealthfuls. With hungry kids on the one hand and a strong desire to provide healthy, nutritious food on the other, what's a health-conscious mom to do?

I say, serve 'em Health is Wealth All Natural Chicken Nuggets. These nuggets make a super-quick lunch and are juicy, crispy and extremely tasty without the above-mentioned "nasties" such as trans fats. These nugget-shaped whole wheat breaded white chicken patties come in the same familiar "drumstick" shape so your kids won't notice the difference, and they are all-natural so you can feel good about serving them. The all-white chicken breast meat is antibiotic free, and the breading is made from organic stone ground whole wheat. Taste and health--it's a win-win situation!

Ingredients: Chicken Breast, Water, Natural Flavoring, Sea Salt. Breaded With: Unbleached Stone Ground Wheat Flour, Barley Malt Solids, Yeast, Sea Salt.Battered with: Water, Yellow Corn Flour, Corn Starch, Sea Salt, Spices, Canola Oil. Browned in Soybean Oil.

Nutrition Facts: Serving size: 3 0z. 130 calories, 4 grams of fat (1 saturated), 35 mg of cholesterol, 230 mg of sodium, 11 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of sugar, and 13 grams of protein.

Manufacturer says: Health is Wealth Chicken Nuggets are bite-sized pieces of tender, juicy chicken breast in a crisp, stone-ground, whole wheat breading that cook up in minutes. Perfect for a quick entree, snack, or party hors d'ouvre. Try them with any of your favorite dipping sauces.

Locate a store near you: Health is Wealth All Natural Chicken Nuggets

Wednesday, February 22, 2006 

Peak Protein Granola by Bear Naked

I LOVE granola.

Unfortunately, however, since most granolas out there are full of sugar, corn syrup, saturated & trans fats and *gag* CANDY pieces, I don't allow myself to eat it. At least I didn't allow myself to eat it until I found Bear Naked Granola.

Bear Naked granolas are soft-baked blends that are inspired by the latest nutritional research. They are packed with fiber, protein, antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, & complex carbs and are are free of trans fats, cholesterol, high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, and preservatives.

All of the flavors are fantastic, and I love that they contain only natural, wholesome ingredients. My personal favorite is the Peak Protein flavor--a delicious blend of whole grains and tasty cranberries packed with 10 grams of protein per 1/2 cup serving. I love it mixed in with lowfat yogurt for breakfast or a post workout snack, and I've also been known to eat it right out of the bag.

A 1/4 cup serving is 140 calories, 7 grams of fat (.5 saturated), 25 mg of sodium, 15 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 5 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of protein.

Ingredients: Whole grain oats, wildflower honey, soy flakes, expeller pressed canola oil, sweetened cranberries, soy protein isolate, sunflower seeds, crisp rice (rice and barley malt), whole grain flax meal, cinnamon, natural flavorContains: soy and gluten

Try it now: Bear Naked Granola

Tuesday, February 21, 2006 

Boomi Bar Pistachio Pineapple

The combination of flavors in pistachio pineapple Boomi bars made me very wary as to whether this would be the snack for me. I love pistachios but, pineapples, I could do without. Plus, I am not the biggest fan of honey! I figured this bar was doomed. I was surprised, though, that the combination works and it had enough pistachio taste to win me over. Just like other flavors of Boomi Bars, these have a solid gooey flavor and a unique (in a good way) flavor and texture. I will admit, it takes a few bites to get used to the flavor and appreciate it. It does have a little of the "health food" taste but it doesn't take long to get past that (the dates help a lot) and enjoy the rest of the bar. I can’t say that I would choose these over some of my other favorites but, I do find myself craving the
Boomi bar taste once a week or so. Boomi bars are probably a little too high in calories and to make a good diet food though one 200 calorie bar is unexpectedly satisfying even for a bottomless pit like me. They are probably better suited, however, as an exercise food or a healthier alternative to traditional snack bars.

The Manufacturer says:
100% Natural with No GMOs, preservatives, sulfur, or hydrogenated oils

Nutrition Facts:

Serving Size: 1 bar
Calories/serving: 200 calories
Fat Calories: 80
Fat: 9g
Saturated Fat: 2g
Sodium: 50mg
Total Carb: 28g
Fiber: 3g
Sugars: 17g
Protein: 5g
Iron: 8%

Rating: (all rankings out of 5)
Overall: 4
Taste: 4
Satisfying/filling: 4
Healthy: 4
Performance (for athletes): 4
Diet Appropriate: 3
Category: Snack food

Friday, February 17, 2006 

Au'some Fruit Juice Nuggets Pouches

Fruit Juice Nuggets are the perfect example of a good idea gone wrong. Florida's Natural (better known for their orange juice), were really on to something when they decided to make a fruit snack with, well, fruit. Unfortunately, however, they decided to take it one step further and RUIN this fruit with corn syrup and added sugar.

To me, once you add sugars to fruits they cease being "healthy" products, and they become treats that belong next to the jelly beans and lollipops. The folks over at Florida's Natural, apparently, disagree. Pick up any flavor of "Au'some Fruit Juice Nuggets," and you'll see healthy words such as "natural," "fruit," "vitamins," and "minerals" dancing around the box making the consumer really believe that this is simply "cute" fruit that's perfect for on-the-go snacking.

I expressed my concern regarding the sugar and corn syrup to a Florida's Natural sales representative. He was extremely dismissive of my comments, and his retort was, "these are better than the other fruit snack products currently on the market because they contain higher amounts of real fruits and fruit juices. They really are a healthier alternative." To me, being "better" than the junk that's out there isn't all that impressive, and I remained unconvinced that this product shouldn't be moved to the candy aisle.

In any case, here are the facts for the Cranberry Apple flavor:

Calories = 130, Fat = 0 g, Sodium = 35 mg, Carbohydrates = 33 g, Fiber = 1 g, Sugars = 25 g, vitamin A = 30%, vitamin C = 100%, calcium =10%, iron =30%, thiamin =30%, niacin = 30%, riboflavin = 30%, zinc = 30%.

Sure, the stats are seemingly impressive, but realize that kids (and adults too) already get way more than their fair share of sugar. Overall, this product is a great idea, and I'm truly baffled as to why they can't simply omit the corn syrup and sugar. The sweeteners seem completely superfluous (fruit is already sweet enough on its own), and turn this product into sugar-vitamin as opposed to a great way for kids to get their fruits.

Oh. Admittedly, they do taste good--but that's not the point.

Thursday, February 16, 2006 

Rocamojo Roasted Soy Coffee

I'm always up for trying new things--especially healthy foods and beverages, so nobody had to twist my arm for me to give Rocamojo Roasted Soy Coffee a try. My first taste was of the original roast, the only flavor at the time--but I have since tried all the flavors: Hazelnut, Vanilla Nut, and Mocha--and I love them all equally, save the Mocha.

Opening my first bag of Rocamojo was actually the WORST part of the entire experiment. I adore the smell of coffee, however, I was instantly horrified by the aroma of these grounds--I won't even attempt to describe the smell, except to say that it is, at the very least, disappointing, and to some, perhaps, even offensive.

If, however, one can get past the initial olfactory assault, the brewed beverage is actually quite delightful. It is smoother than regular coffee with a lot less bitterness and a decidedly milder "bite." While I did not try it with sweetener (why would anyone do that to coffee?), I would not recommend drinking Rocamojo without milk or cream--this coffee definitely requires a dairy or dairy-like liquid (soy, rice, or other milk) to mellow the flavor.

I can almost hear some of you thinking why anyone would want to drink roasted soy coffee. Admittedly, most people find the whole idea of roasted soy bean coffee odd, maybe even disgusting, so justifying its consumption seems appropriate. While I personally like it because I crave variety, the folks over at Rocamojo are actually aiming their product at individuals who cannot stomach the acid in regular coffee (those with acid reflux, GERDS and ulcers) and need a healthy alternative. For those suffering from acid-sensitivity issues, Rocamojo is a java-dream come true--while it certainly lacks the ever-pleasant coffee aroma, it is a delicious brew that makes a great substitute for the forbidden "real" stuff.

Another point of interest--while caffeine has long had to deal with a "bad" health reputation, of late there has been quite a "buzz" in the coffee world about the possible health risks associated with the decaffeination process. These include (but are not limited to) concerns that decaffeination may: raise LDL cholesterol, increase gastrin levels, interfere with the absorption of minerals, and intefere with bone density. For coffee lovers with caffeine sensitivity, this poses a disturbing dilemma that Rocamojo just may solve. Rocamojo, being made exclusively from organic soy beans*, is not decaffeinated, but, rather, 100% caffeine free. Since it is naturally caffeine-free and hasn't undergone the controversial decaffeination process, it is appealing to those seeking an acid-free and caffeine-free beverage. Rocamojo, then, may just be "better than coffee" just as the company claims.

*Allergy allert: The flavored coffees have a natural flavoring containing peanut extract.

Try it now: Rocamojo

McCann's Steel Cut Irish Oatmeal

This is not your ordinary bowl of oatmeal. McCann's Steel Cut Irish Oatmeal bears little to no resemblance to the rolled oats that many of us have eaten since childhood. Instead of being "mushy" or "lumpy," the texture of steel-cut oats is delightfully nutty and chewy, and, if prepared using the overnight soaking method, deliciously creamy as well. These oats are wonderfully filling, and taste terrific when topped with dried or fresh fruits, a bit of cinnamon, and just a teeny bit of brown sugar, maple syrup, or honey.

For those unfamiliar with steel-cut oats, they are whole grain groats (the inner portion of the oat kernel) which have been cut into two or three pieces using steel discs. They are heartier than rolled oats and have a lower gycemic index.

The facts: 150 calories, 2 grams of fat (0 saturated), 0mg of cholesterol, 0mg of sodium, 26 grams total carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber (2 soluble, 2 insoluble), 4 grams of protein, 6% iron (based on 2,000 calorie diet), and 2% calcium (for 2, 000 calorie diet).

Manufacturer says: Oatmeal is an excellent source of fiber. It contains no salt or cholesterol and is naturally low in fat. This is a natural product made only from the whole grain of Irish Oats.

Try it now: McCann's Steel Cut Irish Oatmeal

Tuesday, February 14, 2006 

Panda Licorice

Ok so I know a lot of people don't like licorice so, if you fall into this category, you might as well move on to the next review. For those of you who, like me, hoard the black jelly-beans and pass on the rest, this is the treat for you. Panda Licorice is one of the best licorices I have had. The size and texture is perfect and the all-natural flavoring is delicious. The fact that the licorice has no added salt, colors, flavors, preservatives, is 99% fat free, and is low sodium are a nice bonuses too. The 4% calcium and iron makes it an even better indulgence. The big surprise came with how filling they are. I am a whole-box-is-a-serving kinda guy but, I found that Panda Licorice is filling enough that my snacking urge could be satisfied with less than 1/2 of a box (2.5 servings or so). Each one has plenty of flavor making eating them one-at-a-time enjoyable. The chewiness extends the life of each one so that the time-to-consume, an important but overlooking factor for any calorie-conscious snack choice, is extended. I found myself eating my 1/2 box for about 35 minutes. This staved off my hunger nicely and proved to me that this kind of "candy" is a good diet, pre- or post-workout, or just mid-afternoon snack..

The Facts:
Serving size: 15 Pieces
Servings per container: about 5
Calories: 130
Fat: 0g
Calcium: 4%
Iron: 4%
Sodium: 90mg

Rating: (all rankings out of 5)
Overall: 5
Taste: 5
Satisfying/filling: 5
Healthy: 5
Performance (for athletes): 4
Diet Appropriate: 4
Category: Snack food and candy

The Manufacturer Says:
Panda licorice contains less than 0.5% fat, no artificial coloring, flavoring or preservatives. Panda licorice has less than half the calories of chocolate. "…Panda licorice is a permitted pleasure."

Buy now at: Panda Licorice

Sunday, February 12, 2006 

Kay's Naturals Better Balance Protein Chips - Chili Nacho Cheese

For those snackers who enjoy a "crunch," these Protein Chips are a much better choice than potato or corn chips. A 1 oz serving contains only 110 calories, 3.5 grams of fat (0 saturated/trans), 14 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of sugar, and no cholesterol. They even boast 3 grams of fiber and a whopping 10 grams of protein. Snackers will even get a nice dose of calcium and iron. The chips have a good amount of flavor, but they have a strange after taste reminiscent of cat food. Overall they aren't bad, but they aren't something I would choose to eat again.

Manufacturer says: A tasty way to get protein and fiber! Better Balance Protein Chips:

  • Gluten Free
  • 3 grams of fiber
  • 10 grams of protein!
  • Only 3.5 grams of fat (NO trans fats)
  • Good source of calcium and iron
  • 100% of the Daily Value for Folic Acid and Vitamin B-12.
  • Try it now: Kay's Natural Better Balance Protein Chips

    Gladstone's Under the Sun Wild Blueberry Syrup

    So you've got yourself a plate of homemade, piping hot whole-grain pancakes (boasting 4 grams of fiber each), and you're feeling pretty darn good about yourself. You reach across the table for the maple syrup and start covering your healthy flap-jacks with enough sugar to send the local kindergartners spinning through the town like mini tornadoes. You meant well; you just didn't know you could jazz up those griddle cakes with something other than a puddle of sugar--a classic case of drowning in good intentions.

    If maple is the only kind of syrup in your kitchen, it's high time you discovered Gladstone's Under the Sun Wild Blueberry Syrup. Made with organic wild blueberries, this thick and chunky syrup is delicious on pancakes and waffles, in yogurt, and over ice cream. It also makes a superb filling for crepes. The flavor is intensely blueberry, and it succeeds in giving your food a sweet "kick" without any added sugar!

    The only ingredients in the syrup are organic wild blueberries, apple cider, white grape juice, and citrus pectin. It's completely natural, and a great product for diabetics and dieters.

    Here's how it stacks up against a leading brand of pure maple syrup:

    Admittedly this maple syrup also provides a fair amount of calcium and iron, but given the other negatives, you're better off getting these from another food source.

    Try it now: Wild Blueberry Syrup

    Thursday, February 09, 2006 

    No Pudge Fudge Ice Cream Bars

    Walking through the freezer aisle, my attention was caught by N0 Pudge ice cream bars that were only 110 calories! That's even less than Skinny Cows -- by 40 calories! I grabbed a couple of boxes and couldn't wait to get home and try them. MISTAKE! I tried both the Giant Strawberry Shortcake Bars and the Giant Chocolate Cookies and Cream. The strawberry ones weren't terrible... there was a little bit of a diet food taste, but I definitely managed to eat the whole thing. The Cookies and Cream however, holy CRAP. They tasted like fake ice cream that had been rolled around in dirt. Seriously, I took two bites and then ran hot water over and watched it melt with great glee. Yech. Unfortunately, I had two boxes of them -- what a waste... threw them ALL out. Stick with Skinny Cows -- there is a lot of quality packed in those 40 calories!

    Skinny Cow Ice Cream Sandwiches

    These babies are great for several reasons. #1 -- its an ice cream treat for for about 150 calories and 97% fat free! #2 -- its a controlled serving. You can't really say, "Oh, just one more bite... and one more and one more, until you've eaten 3 servings! If you want another, you make the conscious decision to have another serving. #3 -- they don't taste at all like diet food! They're real creamy ice cream with real cookies and not a glimmer of fakey sugary taste about them! Out of the 8 flavors (Vanilla, Vanilla/Chocolate, Mint, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Strawberry Shortcake, Coffee, Caramel and Cookies and Cream) I've tried all but the Coffee and the Caramel and all the ones I've tried are awesome. Skinny Cows can be hard to find in some areas, but will not only tell you where they are carried, but where your favorite flavor is carried! Could it get any better?

    Sensible Foods Sweet Corn & Orchard Blend

    Proven wrong is my notion that, after a grueling bike race in the desert with little water and no food, I could devour just about anything and like it.

    As usual, before my race, I made sure to have plenty of food on hand for afterward, and figured that Sensible Foods would do the trick. I know, it's kind of light on calories, but I like all of the ingredients in the Sweet Corn and Orchard Blends, and I love sweets.

    After my first bite of Sweet Corn, I nearly choked. "Is that food? Tasted more like lightly flavored styrofoam". I forged on, as the pit in my stomach was huge. Next thought: I'd rather knaw on a tire, except that it would take too long, and I'm starving. By the end of the package, I felt like I had just completed a challenge far more difficult than my 90 mile bike race. That was horrible.

    Luckily, I still had the Orchard Blend. If it weren't for the near starvation I was feeling, I would not have even dared to open up this package from Sensible Foods, but hunger always wins out. And to my surprise, these were amazing. The texture was like bagel chips or potato chips, but the taste was all natural sweetness from apples, peaches, and apricots.

    Did I like it?
    Sweet Corn - NO. Maybe you could use it for packing material.
    Orchard Blend - YES. The Crunch Dried ® process worked perfectly on the apples, peaches, and apricots. The sweetness was still there, and they were kind of fun to eat.

    Good for training?
    They are fine for a pre-excercise or during-excercise snack. But honestly, I'd recommend them for regular mid-day snacking as the calories are extremely low and they'd be fairly difficult to eat while excercising.

    Manufacturer says:
    We are dedicated to bringing you all of the natural goodness and flavor of fresh fruit and vegetables year-round. Our unique Crunch Dried ® process removes the water while maintaining the products cell structure, nutritional value and intensifying its natural flavor.

    Each bag is:

    • Fat Free, 100% Natural, Gluten Free and GMO Free

    • Enzymatically Intact

    • Equal to 1/2 Cup Fresh Fruit

    • 1 Daily Fruit-Vegetable Serving

    • An incredible shelf life of over one year!

    Try them now: Sensible Foods

    Dr. Lankin's Awesome Almonds - Orange Vanilla

    After working out (ok, racing) for 4 hours this past saturday, I was seriously famished, and my muscles were screaming at me. Thankfully I had thought ahead and made sure I would have some good protein around for afterward. Enter: Awesome Almonds.

    These might just be the most appropriatelly named food I've ever eaten. The only problem with them is that the package only contains 1 serving, and I was hoping for at least 5 more. I know, you're thinking "of course they tasted good, he was starving", but that's clearly not the case. Be sure to read my reaction to Sensible Foods Sweet Corn, which evoked a just as strong, but negative, reaction.

    Did I like them?
    Oh yeah. I like almonds to begin with, but the orange vanilla sweetness puts these in a class of their own. I'm not used to my protein tasting like candy.

    Good for training?
    Propably better for recovery. They have the 4/1 carb/protein ratio this is perfect right after excercise, and the sugar provided me with a much-needed pick-me-up.

    Manufacturer says:
    Here's why they are so good... and good for you!

    • All natural ingredients: almonds, pure beet sugar, real vanilla extract, cinnamon, cocoa, coffee and orange juice.

    • No "partially hydrogenated" oils. No trans fat.

    • Created by a board-certified family physician interested in nutrition for over 25 years.

    • Almonds are an awesome choice for people who want a heart healthy diet and maintain their weight.

    • No added fats or artificial preservatives.

    • Our almonds are exclusively from American orchards.

    Try them now: Awesome Almonds

    Olivio Buttery Spray

    Do you miss butter? Geez, I miss butter. Before a life of paying attention to what eat, my favorite snack was a bowl-size mug of cocoa and 2-4 slices of toast. Sadly, both of which are a colossal waste of calories now. I switched to I Can't Believe Its Not Butter Spray, and figured it wouldn't get any better than that, but one day, my grocery store was out of it, so I tried a different kind -- Olivio Buttery Spray. Mmmmm.... the name is oh so appropriate, it very buttery! Whereas ICBINB was somewhat like spraying yellow water on my bread, Olivio is much more like the real thing, at least in the taste arena (still looks very similar to yellow water). Even my kids like it on their popcorn -- you can still get that DRENCHED in butter effect with this stuff! Now if you compared Olivio to real butter, it probably wouldn't be too impressive, but in the world of butter sprays, this stuff is tops. 5 sprays are 0 calories and 0 fat grams. Of course, my question becomes, "FIVE SPRAYS??? Are you KIDDING ME? What about, like, 25 sprays?" Their website lists the nutrition info for one tablespoon of the spray as 50 calories and 6 g fat. But how many sprays is one tablespoon? I know that inquiring minds want to know, so in an uncontrolled and unscientific experiment, I tested how many sprays it took to fill one tablespoon -- I'd say roughly 60 sprays.

    As a small bonus for me, Olivio is made by the Lee Iacocca Foundation, which donates all their profits to Diabetes Research, and having a family member with diabetes, it makes me feel really socially conscious or something, rather than ONLY a butter-lover.

    Wednesday, February 08, 2006 

    Propel Fitness Water

    I normally consume copious amounts of fluids whether I am training or not. Most of the time I drink water which can get quite boring for someone who craves flavor in all that I consume. So, as a fan of Gatorade, but someone who is trying to shed a few pounds, I liked the idea of Propel Fitness Water made, coincidentally, by the folks at Gatorade. Since I easily down a gallon-sized Gatorade in a couple of hours, especially after a long hard workout, I figured I could benefit from getting 10 calories vs. the traditional 50 found in Gatorade. This would save me 640 calories which is nothing to sneeze at! This would be great as long as it tastes good, I thought.

    Of the 7 flavors (Melon, Peach, Grape, Lemon, Berry, Black Cherry, and Kiwi Strawberry) the Grape and the Kiwi Strawberry are the most appealing. They are quite good, in fact! The melon and the lemon on the shelf and the Black Cherry was merely passable. That I like any at all was a surprise since I have never been a fan of lightly sweetened products. I want something to boldly have a flavor or not. No in-between. Propel's taste, though, is light and refreshing and makes you feel like you are making a healthy choice for your body. There is something about the pleasing sleek blue bottle that adds to the feeling that it is a healthy and athletic product. In fact, Propel is often more refreshing than Gatorade, especially during and right after workouts when I abhor strong sweetness.

    The benefits, other than the taste, of drinking the stuff are not so clear. The light flavoring and sodium often draws me into drinking more than I need making me feel bulky and lethargic mid-workout. The added vitamins (B, C, and E) could easily be gotten from regular foods or a multi-vitamin, if need be. Propel does not tout the electrolytes found in a typical sports drink that can, arguably, aid performance and recovery. To be fair, the manufacturer does not market the product as a replacement for sports drink but, rather, for bottled water. This, of course, reverses my argument of fewer calories but on a smaller scale. For those of you who detest artificial sweeteners Propel cuts calories by using the additive Sucralose. This is a definite turn-off for many people. The other negative... The cost! This stuff not only costs more than the bottled water it is supposed to replace, it often costs more than Gatorade itself.

    Interestingly I found that drinking Propel instead of higher sugar alternatives did nothing to progress any weight loss. I suspect 2 causes for this. First, the sodium probably caused some excess water retention. Second, I typically only drank sports drink in conjunction with a particularly hard workout, while I found myself drinking this stuff all the time. This probably caused an INCREASE in total calorie consumption because it was replacing water.

    Despite the negatives, however, I still find myself craving Propel once in awhile though I have pretty much cut it out of my thirst-quenching repertoire.

    The Manufacturer Says:
    Propel is a lightly-sweetened and non-carbonated water beverage with added vitamins. It helps you to hydrate more because the light flavor makes it more appealing.

    I say:
    Pleasing Taste, low calorie, expensive, too many "other" negatives.
    2 out of 5 stars.

    Monday, February 06, 2006 

    New Alpha-Bits (0 grams of sugar)

    Early one recent morning my seven year-old daughter, who has a keen awareness of the sugar content in her breakfast cereal, excitedly held up a box of Alpha-Bits to me and exclaimed: "look dad! This one has zero sugar." Surely, I thought, she must be mistaken and has read the wrong statistic. I grabbed the box expecting to refute the information when I noticed the box looked a bit different. When my eyes moved down to the sugars area of the Nutrition Facts, sure enough, it WAS zero! Crazy! My daughter proceeded to tell me that she likes this cereal and this is what she wanted for breakfast. Knowing that she was confusing this with traditional Alpha-Bits, which, of course, are quite good, I mildly expressed some doubt as to the validity of her claim. Not so much, though, that I could quell her conviction that they would be a delightful and healthy morning treat. I figured I would be brave and try some as well, especially since we were out of some of my sweeter favorites. I was, however, by no means deceived as to what may be in store.

    At first bite you get what you expect. A taste of something similar to chewing on the non-popsicle end of a popsicle stick. It took about half-of-a-bowl of progressively frowning spoonfuls from my daughter before she finally stated that it was awful and tasted like wood dust or something to that effect. I offered her to put some sugar in it to make it more palatable. This did the job. One teaspoonful and it was good enough for her to finish quickly. Still healthier than the typical children’s breakfast cereal with 10+ grams of sugar (1 tsp is less than 5g) but not the original purity.

    As for me, I found that as the cereal soaked in the milk, the milk sugars made the cereal much sweeter. This brought it into the edible range though not quite to yummy. Of course, I like the taste of milk which, I think, is a requirement if you have any hope of consuming this on a regular basis.

    Interestingly, a few days later, I found my daughter eating this cereal again, and this time without even asking for sugar. She still claims to not really like it, but it couldn’t be that repulsive if she chose it on her own (no we were not quite totally out of food in our pantry).

    My wife, by no means a health nut, purchased the cereal out-of curiosity for ME to try. Our reactions I think prompted her to give it a go though her reaction was a mere “is not great” and that she will not buy it again. Surprisingly I found myself putting up a defense of the stuff saying that I would not mind having it around.

    I would be up for eating it a couple of times a week for the health benefits. Not every meal has to be a favorite and I can deal with a few mediocre ones to balance out the very tasty high-fat and high-calorie meals in which I have been known to indulge. I suspect that with a measure of getting used to consuming the cereal I would appreciate it better and hopefully improve my nutritional habits. Plus I can shore up my spelling!

    The Facts
    Serving size is a relatively large 1 ¼ cup with 3g dietary fiber (1g soluble). 2g of fat 0g saturated and 0g trans fat. Also has: 4g protein, 0g sugars, 18g of other carbohydrates.

    Ingredients are myriad of healthy (and low taste) items including: Whole grain oat flour (1st) Yellow corn flour (2nd) and wheat flour (3rd). No artificial sweeteners listed.

    Manufacturer says: Excellent source of whole grain. Good source of calcium. Good source of fiber. Rich in whole grain plus has letter learning fun!

    Thursday, February 02, 2006 

    Metromint Peppermint Water

    Let's face it--64 ounces of water per day is a lot, and, at times, facing yet another glass of the stuff is just more palate-boredom than I can take. It is this "boredom" that keeps me ever on the lookout for new and interesting ways to gulp down the required amount.

    Testing the "unusual" waters out there is typically a frustrating and disappointing experience for me. Considering I have only two requirements for my "flavored" water--it must be low in calories, and it cannot contain sweetener of any kind--I can't comprehend why there are so few products that fit my credentials.

    Metromint Peppermint Water, however, not only met both of my requirements, but surprised me with a few additional "health benefits." I was, of course, thrilled to find that this water was unsweetened and had zero calories. I was even more thrilled to discover the giant icy blast of cool flavor it delivered--certainly nothing yawn-inducing!

    I was most thrilled, however, when Metromint helped me workout when I had an upset stomach. I'd heard that peppermint could soothe the stomach, so last week when I was feeling rather queasy, I grabbed a bottle of Metromint on my way to the gym. I sipped it throughout my workout, and it kept the "queasies" at bay. Impressive.

    Manufacturer says: Pure. Simple. Mintwater. Metromint water is deliciously refreshing purified water with mint grown from the Yakima Valley in Washington. There's no sugar or other sweeteners added--so go ahead and enjoy this natural, 0 calorie beverage without guilt!

    They all say: Good

    Try it now: Metromint Peppermint Water


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